About the Big HOle River Drought Management Plan
Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success
The Big Hole River Drought Management Plan designates target river flow and temperature conditions for fish health in five river sections of the Big Hole River. The plan includes voluntary conservation targets for all water users, MFWP fishing restriction criteria, and information tools. Conservation actions are designed support the health of the fishery.
The plan outlines voluntary conservation actions and relies on Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success – if all users sacrifice, we can all be successful in protecting the fishery. The plan also designates MFWP fishing restrictions when drought conditions reach critical levels.
The BHWC DMP originated in 1997. The plan is reviewed annually by a committee made up of irrigators, fishermen, conservation groups, and agency representatives as well as the entire BHWC.
From Jacqueline Knutson, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Hydrologist. As of 11/21/2018:
Streamflows: Seasonal streamflow gages have stopped reporting flows. Data is still provisional for this past water year but I hope to have statistics for the group in January.
Forecast: We remain in ENSO-neutral conditions, which has helped us receive some good early snowpack but El Nino will be arriving soon and forecasters are now giving an El Nino winter an 80% chance of forming in December. The chance that El Nino will continue through the spring of 2019 is forecast at 55%. Although this is predicted to be a weak El Nino event, that still means a mild winter in Montana. We will not be able to rely on the snowpack that we had the last two years and we can expect above average temperatures and below average precipitation through the winter. The Climate Prediction Center will be issuing its next El Nino update on December 13. The link for that update is here: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.shtml.
The current forecast through January 2019 indicates above average temperatures and below average precipitation.
2018 USGS Gage Bill:
Water Temperature at Big Hole River @ Wise River (Dickie Bridge), Maiden Rock, and Notch Bottom (Glen):
USGS Flow Gages for Upper Big Hole CCAA program:
The Wise River real-time gage was installed near the mouth of the Wise River October 2015. The Big Hole Watershed Committee sought installation in order to continue flow and temperature monitoring in the Wise River, as well provide information for Wise River irrigators. The gage reports flow, stage and water temperature in real-time via Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Surface Water website. The gage is part of the 2015 launch of DNRC & Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology real-time monitoring system for small streams, who installed and operates the gage. Funding was provided by Big Hole Watershed Committee, The Nature Conservancy, and Montana Trout Unlimited and is graciously hosted on the PKR Ranch. The Big Hole Watershed Committee in partnership with DNRC, MFWP, and Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology have been conducting monitoring of the Wise River surface and groundwater since 2011.